"It has been reported that around 70-90% of all child safety seats have been installed incorrectly and can result in severe injury and death if not corrected."
The Monroe Fire Department can help you help your children by demonstrating to you and teaching you how to properly install your child safety seat.
In the November 2009, several Monroe firefighters were certified to be Child Passenger Safety Technicians through the Safe Kids Worldwide CPS certification program. With this, the Monroe Fire Department offers our citizens a free child safety seat evaluation at some of our fire stations. We can inspect your current car seat installation and teach you how to correctly install it, including more challenging installations requiring belt clips and retaining clips.
The following fire stations have personnel that are certified in child safety seat installation:
|Station 2||1810 Martin Luther King||(318) 329-2562|
|Station 6||2221 Forsythe Avenue||(318) 329-2566|
It is strongly suggested to call the closest station and schedule a time to visit the station to insure an appropriately certified firefighter is on duty and to insure the apparatus will be in the station.
For more information, visit Safe Kids USA.
Always use a properly-sized and installed child safety seat to protect your child while traveling. Standard safety belts in most vehicles are designed to properly restrain adult-sized persons and are inadequate for infants and children. Placing your infant or child in a car with only the built-in standard safety belts will not protect them in the event of an impact or sudden stop.
The back seat is almost always the safest place for a child to ride. Infants under one year-old or under 20 pounds should be in a rear-facing seat in the back seat. Never place an infant in a forward-facing seat in the front seat. Children over one year-old and 20 pounds or more may ride in a forward-facing child safety seat or in a rear-facing convertible seat, if the child's weight is within the recommendations of the seat's manufacturer.
Here are some tips for properly securing your infant (0-1 year old or less than 20 pounds) in your vehicle:
- For the best possible protection, keep your infant in a rear-facing child safety seat in a back seat for as long as possible - up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat. The "12 months and 20 pounds" rule that many parents cite when turning their child forward-facing in the car is actually the minimum size and age requirement for that change.
- Keep a baby rear-facing in a convertible seat until he or she reaches the maximum height or weight allowed by the manufacturer. For many children that will be 30, 35 or even 40 pounds. Many kids will be over age 2 when they reach that weight. Rear-facing occupants are safest.
- Use your baby's car seat rear-facing and semi-reclined to no more than 45 degrees, so the baby's head stays in contact with the seat and the baby's airway stays open. Read the car seat instructions.
- Make sure the buckled harness straps that keep your baby properly positioned and secured in the car seat fit snugly. Loose harness straps don't provide maximum protection. Be sure the harness is tight enough that you cannot pinch webbing at the shoulder.
- Position the shoulder straps through the slots at or below your baby's shoulders.
- Adjust the chest clip to armpit level.
- Use either the car's seat belt or LATCH system to lock the car seat into the car. Do not use both systems at the same time.
- Your car seat should not move more than one inch side to side or front to back. Grab the car seat at the safety belt or LATCH path to test it.
- Every car seat has an expiration date. Generally, it is six years from manufacture. Many have the expiration date stamped on the seat. Contact the manufacturer of your specific seat to find out what its expiration date is.
- Never buy a used car seat if you do not know its full history. Never use a car seat that has been in a crash. Avoid seats sold at flea markets or yard sales or online.
- Do not use any products that did not come from the manufacturer in or with the car seat. Car seat fabrics meet strict fire safety codes.
- Add-on toys can injure your child in a crash.
- Find the frontal airbags in your vehicle by checking the owner's manual. Never put a rear-facing car seat in front of an active frontal airbag. Children are always safest in a back seat.
- Have your car seat checked by a currently certified child passenger safety technician to make sure it is properly installed.
For children older than infants, here are some tips for properly securing them while traveling.
- Use a forward-facing car seat correctly and until the harness no longer fits (convertible or combo seat) in a back seat every time your toddler rides in a car. Many harnesses today serve kids to 50, 60, 80 or even 100 pounds.
- Use the car seat with a harness that's right for your toddler's weight and height. Toddlers are weighed and measured at every doctor's visit, so be sure to keep track.
- Put harnesses through the slots so they are even with or above the child's shoulders. Some seats require use of the top slots when the seat is forward-facing, so check instructions.
- Be sure the buckled harness is tight, so you cannot pinch extra webbing at the shoulder.
- Adjust the chest clip to armpit level.
- Use the car's safety belt or LATCH system to lock the car seat into the car. Do not use both at the same time. Your car seat should not move more than one inch side to side or front to back. Grab the car seat at the safety belt path or LATCH path to test it.
- Use a top tether if both your vehicle and car seat are equipped. Tethers limit the forward motion of your child's head in a crash.
- Have your car seat checked by a currently certified child passenger safety technician to make sure it's properly installed.
- Do not allow children to play with seat belts. Treat them as you would any rope or cord.
- Be sure all occupants wear seat belts correctly every time. Children learn from adult role models.
- Restrain all children in age- and weight-appropriate child restraints when in a car with the motor running. That will limit access to power windows. Never leave children unattended.
- If you have a heavier or taller child, find a car seat with a harness that fits larger children. Some seats hold children up to 80 or even 100 pounds.